lacrosse officials association





Starting in 2020 in high school boys lacrosse, play may be restarted with a defensive player within five yards of the player in possession of the ball. In such cases, defensive players must adhere to certain conditions or they may be subject to a delay-of-game technical foul.

The amended restart protocol was one of 10 rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee at its July 15-17 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“The committee worked diligently in reviewing all proposals,” said Dr. James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports and liaison to the NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee. “Year after year, the game of high school boys lacrosse continues to improve and make positive strides.”

  • Rule 4-22-1: Officials will no longer wait for defensive players to position themselves more than 5 yards from the player in possession of the ball when restarting play. While both offensive and defensive players are still required to move more than 5 yards away, two exceptions apply to defensive players only. Defensive players within 5 yards of the player in possession of the ball can avoid a delay-of-game technical foul by allowing the player a direct path to the goal and not defending that player until the player is 5 yards away from the defending player.  “This change allows for rapid restarts to increase pace of play while making the game more engaging,” Weaver said. “Additionally, the change balances technique between offense and defense.”

  • Rule 1-9-1: Shoulder pads and chest protectors used by players must be designed for lacrosse. Additionally, goalkeepers must wear a chest protector designed for lacrosse that meets the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) ND200 standard at the time of manufacture beginning January 1, 2021, while shoulder pads for field players must incorporate the NOCSAE ND200 lacrosse standard for chest protection beginning January 1, 2022.NOCSAE ND200 protection will be available on the market for field players and goalkeepers this fall. “Health and safety of players is of the utmost importance,” Weaver said. “The NOCSAE ND200 standard for lacrosse will provide valuable protection for all players in the game.”

  • Rule 5-5: The penalty for an illegal crosse is no longer a tiered penalty and is now a two-minute, non-releasable penalty – regardless of the infraction.

  • Rules 5-10 and 6-5-2: Throwing the crosse at a ball, player or other game personnel is considered unsportsmanlike conduct, which is met with a one- to three-minute non-releasable penalty and in all other cases falls under illegal procedure.

  • Rule 2-7-2: The Chief Bench Official is no longer responsible for penalizing a team with too few players on the field. However, delayed substitutions — when a player gains an advantage by delaying entry onto the field — still fall under the CBO’s duties.

  • Rule 4-5: Ball in flight, team possession and completed pass, which were deemed to no longer be needed.

  • Rules 6-1-1 and 6-2-1: Focus on streamlining changes made to the slow-whistle technique in Rule 7-8-2 over the past two seasons.

  • Rule 4-24: Clarifies that a time-out for a player with symptoms consistent with a concussion is an official’s time-out, not a team time-out.


  •  1-6-2: Measuring the length of the head at the front (face) of the head

  • 1-7-1: The pocket/net must be completely attached to the head and the side walls, leaving no gaps large enough for a ball to pass through

  • 1-9-1j: Beginning January 1, 2021, a goalkeeper chest protector designed for lacrosse that incorporates the NOCSAE ND200 at the time of manufacture shall be used by all goalkeepers

  •  4-5-9: A shot is considered a ball propelled toward the goal by an offensive player with the intent of scoring a goal. A shot can only be made when the ball is parallel to or above the goal line extended. Additionally, it can be either thrown from a crosse, kicked, or otherwise physically directed.

  • 4-9-3: If any of the following occur between the end of the period and the shot entering the goal, the goal will be disallowed:(a).The ball makes contact with any member of the attacking team or his equipment;(b)The ball is touched by a player of either team other than the defending goalkeeper after hitting the goalkeeper or his equipment, goal posts or crossbar.

  • 4-14-3: If the ball does not touch the center line or something over the center line, no infraction has occurred. A defensive player may reach over the center line with his crosse and bat the ball to keep it in his team's offensive half and thus prevent an over-and-back violation. However, he may NOT reach over the center line and bat the ball with his foot or any other part of his body excluding his gloved hand wrapped around his crosse. If he does so, it shall be a turnover.

  • 5-3 PENALTY: Penalty for violation of Article 5 is a two or three minute, non-releasable foul, at the official's discretion. An excessively violent violation of this rule may result in an ejection.  

  • 5-4-4: A player shall not initiate a body check legally but slides up into or follows through to an opponent's head or neck

  • 5-4-5: A player shall not body-check a player in a defenseless position. This includes but is not limited to: (a) Body-checking a player from his "blind side"; (b) Body checking a player who has his head down in an attempt to play a loose ball; and (c) Body-checking a player whose head is turned away to receive a pass, even if that player turns toward the contact immediately before the body check.

  • 5-4-6: A player shall not initiate targeting, which is intentionally taking aim at the head/neck of an opponent for the purpose of making violent contact. This could include a check with the crown of the helmet (spearing) that targets the head or neck of an opponent. PENALTY: Three-minute, non-releasable foul. An excessively violent violation of this rule may result in an ejection.

  • 5-4-7: A player shall not initiate targeting that intentionally takes aim at a player in a defenseless position. PENALTY: Three-minute, non-releasable foul. An excessively violent violation of this rule may result in an ejection.

  • 5-10e: A coach who is on the field and obstructs play

  • 5-12-1 PENALTY: Three-minute non-releasable penalty for a player, substitute or non-playing team member or a one-minute non-releasable penalty for a coach and ejection for the remainder of the game. The ejected coach shall be removed from the premises (bench and field area). The ejected player, substitute or non-playing team member shall be removed from the premises if there is authorized school personnel present to supervise the ejected student. If no authorized school personnel is available, the student shall be confined to the bench area. The sponsoring authority is responsible for notifying the appropriate school of the ejection.

  • 6-3-2a: A player shall not use the portion of the handle that is between his hands to hold an opponent, when his hands are more than shoulder-width apart.

  • 6-3-3e: Holding is permitted if a player uses the portion of the handle that is between his hands, which are no more than shoulder-width apart, to hold an opponent on the torso with no more than equal pressure and no thrusting motion.

  • 6-5-2b(4): A player shall not exchange his crosse with that of a teammate during live play while the ball is in either crosse.

  • 6-11-2: A player in possession of the ball with both hands on his crosse shall not use his hand or arm to push the body of the player applying the check. NOTE: Illegal body checks (5-3), "spearing" (5-4-3) and unnecessary roughness (5-9-3 SITUATION E) shall be strictly enforced as personal fouls.


  • 1-2:  Adopt the 120-yard Unified girls and boys field as an allowed field option

  • 1-7-5:  Note: Pockets of nontraditional synthetic material manufactured for lacrosse are permitted. The pocket must meet the specifications of 1-7.

  • 4-3-3n:  A contrasting color between the head and the top glove must be visible on the shaft at faceoffs.  The circumference of the shaft shall not exceed 3.5 inches. Note: This can be accomplished with the original shaft color, paint, a single wrap of tape, or other material.

  • 1-9-1g (8):  Note: Beginning in 2022, the home team will be required to wear white jerseys, and the away team will be required to wear non-white jerseys.

  • 4-3-3d:  The official shall make certain that the reverse surfaces of the crosses match evenly in that the top of one head lines up with the throat of the other and are perpendicular to the ground.

  • 4-9-2o:  A goal will be allowed if the shot is released prior to the end of the period.

  • 4-18-4:  PENALTY: Conduct foul on the defensive player. A second violation by the team will be enforced as releasable unsportsmanlike conduct, served by the offending player.

  • 6-5-2x:  Failure to wear a required mouthpiece properly (unless it comes out during play).

  • 6-10-2:  The stall warning remains in effect until a goal is scored, a shot that hits the goal pipes, shot that hits the goalie or hits his equipment, the defensive team gains possession of the ball or the period ends resulting in a faceoff. After the team has been warned, stalling shall be called if the ball leaves the goal area in any manner other then as a result of a shot on goal or a touch by the defensive team.

  • 7-3 :  RESUMING PLAY AFTER PENALTY -- When a penalty occurs and the ball is in the offended team’s offensive half of the field, the ball shall be put in play by the team awarded the ball, at the spot where the ball was when play was suspended.  If the ball was in the goal area when play was suspended, it shall be restarted nearest to the spot of the ball at the time of the whistle, 20 yards laterally outside the goal area.

  • 7-8-2k:  A second defensive foul is committed during the final two minutes of regulation play with the team that is ahead possessing the ball unless a scoring play is imminent.

  • Signals:  Stall warning off (fair catch signal from football) signal 40.

Points of Emphasis

  • Shots at the Ends of Periods
  • Slow Whistle
  • Face-offs
  • Mouthpieces
  • New Crosse

Note: Situations and Rulings immediately follow the corresponding rule/section. New or revised Situations and Rulings are indicated by shading.



  • 1-3-2a: If a flat-iron goal is used on a grass field, it may be attached to the ground with ground anchors.
  • Rationale: Ground anchors are not typically used on grass fields.  This change will allow the rules to be aligned with standard practice.  The rule change would allow but not require ground anchors.

  • 4-3-1 Exception 2: If a player or team commits a foul before any faceoff, the ball will be awarded to the offended team in its offensive side of the field at the Center.
  • Rationale: Currently there is a distance of 5 yards from all surrounding players and re-start from spot of the foul. This ruling of “a free clear” is no longer correct and should have been deleted in the current rules book in order to be consistent with Rule 4.4.2 SITUATION B, which calls for a re-start from “the spot where the ball was when play was suspended.”

  • 4-3-3: Paint, a single wrap of tape, or other material of contrasting color to the head may now be used on the handle of the crosse for any player taking a faceoff.
  • Rationale: New handle materials are already in production and create a more durable solution than tape. The current rule only allows for tape; this rule change would allow for the emerging best practices.

  • 4-18-4: No defensive player, other than a properly equipped goalkeeper, can enter his own crease with the perceived intent on blocking a shot or acting as a goalie. Penalty: Conduct foul on the defensive player. A second violation by the player will be enforced as releasable unsportsmanlike conduct.  Note: Officials will stop play as soon as they notice the situation. However, if a shot is already in flight when this is noticed, the shot will be allowed to come to its normal conclusion before the whistle blows to stop play.
  • Rationale: Risk minimization only the goalkeeper may be located within the crease.

  • 6-5-2: Failure to wear the required mouthpiece (unless it comes out during play) is now a technical foul.
  • Rationale: Change brings foul into conformity with current trends in the sport and makes it more likely to be enforced and, therefore, should bring greater compliance for risk minimization.

  • 6-10-3: During the last two minutes of regulation play, stalling rules are in effect for the team that is ahead by four goals or less.  When the score differential is five goals or more, neither team is forced to keep the ball in the goal area unless warned to “keep it in.”
  • Rationale: The current “automatic stall warning” in the last two minutes creates a dangerous situation where a team that is essentially “out of the game” is given more opportunity to “punish” the team that is ahead since that team is forced to “keep it in.”


Points of Emphasis

  • Coaches and Team Area
  • Defenseless Hits
  • Blindside Hits
  • Mouthpieces
  • Reminder of Crosse Change in 2018



  • 1-6-1:  Defines crosse dimensions and specifications at different locations to address issues with the ballbeing stuck in the crosse. This change in equipment will begin in 2018 to allow for phased implementation.

  • 1-8:  Expands the crosse prohibitions. Specifically, the changes intend to inhibit the use of pull strings andsidewall strings to lodge the ball in the crosse.

  • 1-9-1:  Clarifies the use of an American flag and commemorative patches worn on uniforms.

  • 1-9-1k,2:  This change clarifies the intent of the required equipment for a goalkeeper.

  • 4-3-3:  Deletes ART. 3 through ART. 6 of the faceoff and adds revision to 4-3-3; improves the process othe faceoff and clarifies the rules to create more consistent and fair play.

  • 4-9-2n, 4-19-1:  Clarifies the “dive” rule and aligns with other rule sets.

  • 4-14-3:  Adds a new “over and back” rule to keep the ball in play in the offensive half of the field once ossession has been established in the goal area. Clarifies and adds consistency with other rule sets and removes the concept of “intentional” to avoid confusion.

  • 4-22-2, 3:  Clarifies where a foul must occur in order to result in a (“play on”) which is a quick restart for the defense.

  • 7-2d:  Simplifies and parallels language used in other rule sets.

  • 7-3:  Deletes language in order to be consistent with restarts in similar game situations.

  • 7-13-2:  Adds language that was inadvertently removed regarding protocol for mistakes by officials.

  • 7-13-3:  Aligns language for inadvertent whistles and flags.